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FF Guarded Searching. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Adware

Malicious websites aggressively ask to install FF Guarded Searching add-on

Image of FF Guarded Searching scam website

FF Guarded Searching is a suspicious Mozilla Firefox extension which is harshly promoted via guardedsearchingext.xyz domain. After the installation, this potentially unwanted program (PUP) might replace browser’s search engine and prevent users from reverting these changes. Additionally, it might display tons of aggressive advertisements.

As we have just mentioned, so-called FF Guarded Searching virus is being promoted via the compromised website which uses a malicious JavaScript code. Usually, users get redirected to this site when they visit potentially dangerous websites, for instance, adult-themed, illegal movie streaming or similar sites.

When users end up on the guardedsearchingext.xyz website, they receive a pop-up saying that Firefox prevented from installing FF Guarded Searching extension and gives instructions how users should allow its installation.

The malicious website also gives what permissions FF Guarded Searching malware needs:

  • Access your data for all websites;
  • Access browser tabs.

These permissions give PUP the ability to display commercial content on each website you visit, including pop-ups, in-text ads, banners and other types of online advertisements. Additionally, the program might trigger redirects to questionable sites.

Originally, FF Guarded Searching redirect activities are needed for developers to generate revenue from driving traffic to affiliate websites. However, security specialists report that this adware-type cyber threat might force you to visit phishing, technical support scam or even malicious sites where you can suffer from serious cyber crimes.

Therefore, installation of this malicious add-on should be avoided. However, if you accidentally install it, you might find problems with its removal. FF Guarded Searching scam is designed in a way that it might block access to about:addons tab. As soon as the user tries to access Firefox add-ons, the PUP will close it.

Thus, in order to remove FF Guarded Searching from the browser, you will need to run Mozilla Firefox in Safe Mode or reset the browser itself. At the end of the article, you will find detailed instructions how to complete these tasks.

However, you should also consider automatic FF Guarded Searching removal using reputable anti-malware software. We recommend scanning the device with Reimage and after that resetting the browser to make sure that PUP is gone for good.

Malicious Firefox extension use aggressive techniques to force users into installing it

While the majority browser hijacker or adware-type programs spread with the help of software bundling, FF Guarded Searching hijack is not expected to occur in this way. As we have revealed in the beginning, it is aggressively promoted on malicious websites.

Researchers detected that guardedsearchingext.xyz is one of the domains that spread this add-on. Users typically end up on it when they visit a potentially dangerous website which triggers redirect to it. Even though users can close unexpectedly opened promotional website, these redirects might repeat itself.

This PUP might display a misleading page telling that “Firefox requires a manual update” in order to protect users activities online. It might also deliver fake prompt windows that ask for authentication by entering particular username or password. Obviously, users have no clue what credentials they should type. For this reason, they might be tricked that installing this add-on can solve the problem because malware prevents from closing this browser’s tab.

Though, if you cannot exit this page or close the browser, you should run Windows Task Manager[1] by simultaneously clicking Ctrl + Alt + Del keys and killing Firefox process.

However, security specialists from utanvirus.se[2] warn that downloading extensions, plugins or updates from such websites might lead to infiltration of more threatening cyber threats than PUPs. Therefore, you should never install unknown applications from redirect websites.

FF Guarded Searching uninstall instructions

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to remove FF Guarded Searching as an ordinary Firefox add-on. This potentially unwanted application prevents users from accessing the list of extensions unless they reset the browser or run Firefox in Safe Mode by following these steps:

  1. Open Firefox and click the menu button.
  2. Navigate to Help.
  3. Click Restart with Add-ons Disabled… option.
  4. It will deliver Firefox Safe Mode pop-up where you have to choose either Start in Safe Mode or Refresh Firefox options. Choose the one you prefer.

Starting in Safe Mode option will temporarily disable the extensions and other customizations you made to the browser. Thus, you should be able to delete FF Guarded Searching add-on. If you choose Refresh Firefox option,[3] you will reset browser’s factory settings and save specific information.

However, you can also opt for the automatic FF Guarded Searching removal which allows terminating this suspicious extension with the help of security software. However, don’t forget to update your anti-malware tool before running a full system scan.

You can remove FF Guarded Searching automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. We recommend these applications because they can easily delete potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

We might be affiliated with any product we recommend on the site. Full disclosure in our Agreement of Use. By Downloading any provided Anti-spyware software to remove FF Guarded Searching you agree to our privacy policy and agreement of use.
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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall FF Guarded Searching. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
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To remove FF Guarded Searching, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove FF Guarded Searching from Windows systems

To remove FF Guarded Searching adware from the computer, you should check for the suspicious components installed to the system. Additionally, you have to reset Firefox or restart it in Safe Mode in order to get rid of all malicious add-ons.

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall FF Guarded Searching and related programs
    Here, look for FF Guarded Searching or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall FF Guarded Searching from Mac OS X system

Follow these steps, to eliminate PUP-related entries from Mac OS X:

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for FF Guarded Searching or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase FF Guarded Searching from Internet Explorer (IE)

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for FF Guarded Searching and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete FF Guarded Searching removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of FF Guarded Searching from Microsoft Edge

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, FF Guarded Searching should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate FF Guarded Searching from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

First of all, you have to restart Mozilla Firefox in Safe Mode: Click menu button -> navigate to Help -> choose Restart with Add-ons Disabled -> click Start in Safe Mode button. Then you should be able to uninstall FF Guarded Searching or FF Antivirus, or similar entries. However, you can also reset the browser as explained below:

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select FF Guarded Searching and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete FF Guarded Searching removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete FF Guarded Searching from Google Chrome

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select FF Guarded Searching and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete FF Guarded Searching removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove FF Guarded Searching from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for FF Guarded Searching or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  4. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete FF Guarded Searching removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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